A critical part of business continuity that is often missed is to provide training to your employees on the business continuity process. The following steps are the basics you will need to use to prepare basic continuity training.
There are three domains of learning: cognitive, affective, and behavioral.
Cognitive emphasizes remembering facts, knowledge, principles, and theories. The primary goal of this learning domain is to present information rather than training a skill. Affective learning focuses on changing attitudes, feelings, and the motivation of the learner. The behavioral domain learning focuses on teaching people the behaviors or skills.
Depending on the type of training you want to do – such as impart information, change a behavior, or have someone “do something” – you need to modify your training to touch the three domains.
- What do they need to know? (Information.)
- What skills or behaviors do they need? (Can do.)
- Do they have the motivation? (Will do.)
Analyzing training needs can be done through several methods such as surveys, interviewing the departments, focus groups, research, and checklists. These can help you identify the training needs. The following are a few questions you can ask:
- Who is your audience?
- What are the goals of this training?
- What type of training is needed?
- What information or facts do the trainees need to know?
- What skills or behaviors do they need to be able to do after training?
- What is the motivation? What attitudes do the learners need to have? Why is it important that they learn and apply these methods?
- What are the needs of the employees?
- How are the steps or tasks performed?
- What are the best methods of delivery?
Next, in order for you to be knowledgeable about the skills you are training you should read; gather information through research, summaries, or books; and or ask the experts performing the job to help you understand the tasks or steps you will be training.
Once you understand what the trainees must be able to do, you then begin the process of laying out the steps (outline) in performing the skills you are teaching. A key component in designing training programs is to identify the specific skills and information that you are going to teach the trainees and design a clear, “right way” to do those skills.
Develop Your Objectives
Your objectives drive the content. A training objective is a concise statement that describes what the trainee should be able to do when the training is completed.
- Objectives should be observable – You can actually see them perform the task.
- Objectives should be measurable – You can collect data to document whether or not the skills have been performed.
- Objectives should be attainable – The learner could perform these skills, given the appropriate feedback and timeframe.
- Objective should be specific – The objectives include a criterion that provides guidelines for the learner to perform the task.
At the end of this session, you will be able to:
- Effectively design and develop a risk analysis
- Effectively administer a risk analysis
- Effectively analyze a risk analysis
When designing objectives remember not to use verbs such as know, feel, appreciate, and understand. They are not measurable and do not offer specific behaviors that the trainees should perform.
Adult vs. Child Learning
When developing content, you need to understand the differences in learning styles. Any corporate training should be geared toward adult learning. Here are some basics to remember:
- Andragogy is the science and art of teaching adults.
- Pedagogy is the science and art of teaching children.
- Focus on “real world” problems, not scenarios out of the book. Adults will want to apply what they know and use their experiences to problem-solve.
- Emphasize how learning can be applied.
- Relate the materials to the learning goals.
- Relate the materials to the past experiences of the learner.
- Allow for debate and challenge of ideas.
- Encourage learners to be resources to you and to one another.
- Treat them like adults.
Let us look at a few of those learning styles and methods of training you can use to meet all styles of learning.
Divergers – Learn by observing rather than taking action and they learn from others experiences. They like to be imaginative, understanding people, recognizing problems, brainstorming, and being open-minded.
If you want to improve your diverger’s learning skills, try to do the following items:
- Be sensitive to their feelings and values.
- Listen with an open mind.
- Allow them to gather information.
- Allow for imagining the implication of a situation.
- When designing training, you want to incorporate use of small-group interactions, brainstorming sessions, and promote mentor/mentee relationships.
Accommodators – Learn by doing, by working in the field with others, solving problems based on gut instinct, and discussions with others rather than through logic. They like getting things done, leading, taking risks, initiating, and being adaptable and practical.
If you want to improve your accommodators’ learning skills, try to do the following items:
- Commit yourself to the objectives.
- Allow for seeking of new opportunities.
- Allow them to become personally involved and deal with others.
- When designing training, you want to incorporate the use of traditional lectures, possibly invite experts to address the trainees, or assign a special research project.
Convergers – Learn by doing the work themselves; approaching learning as a problem-solving environment, finding solutions by thinking logically through the problem. They like solving problems, making decisions, reasoning deductively, defining problems, and being logical.
If you want to improve your converger’s learning skills, try to do the following items:
- Allow for creative thinking, doing, and experimentation of new ideas.
- Allow them to decision make and select the best solutions.
- Set goals
- When designing training, you want to incorporate and use activities that allow for new problem-solving processes, demonstrate the use of the new process, and use problem-based training.
Assimilators – Learn by listening to the experts rather than from other’s experiences. Assimilators learn by sequentially ordering information into logical forms, planning, creating models, defining problems, developing theories, and being patient.
If you want to improve your assimilators’ learning skills, try to do the following items:
- Organize the information.
- Allow testing of theories, ideas, and building conceptual models.
- Design experiments and analyzing quantitative data.
- When designing training for accommodators, allow for the conducting of experiments, and place trainee in the field or in internship.
In addition to the above learning styles, there are perceptual learning differences. These are categorized in the following criteria:
- Visual learners learn by reading and viewing.
- Use flipcharts, handouts, and power-points.
- Aural learners learn by hearing and speaking.
- Use peer-to-peer presentations, audio, music, and movies.
- Kinesthetic learners learn by touching and doing.
- Use simulations, case studies, role plays, and demonstrations.
Write your content to match your audience, and remember if you are training on a new task or process, bring it down a level. Teach in chronological order and organize information in a time sequence. Example: what the person is to perform first, teach first.
Teach the simple skills first, then move to the more complex skills. Use an introduction, body, and conclusion to the content.
- Tell – Tell them what you want them to do.
- Show – Show them how it is done. Model the behavior.
- Invite – Invite them to practice the skill.
- Encourage – Provide feedback and encouragement.
- Correct – Offer suggestion for improving.
There are a few techniques that you should use when designing your content that help gain the audience’s attention:
Set Induction – A set induction hooks the trainees into the class, gets them thinking about why they are there, and motivates them to get involved. The goal of the set induction is to have the trainees either verbally or mentally respond to your questions, thus getting them focused on the class. Example: How many of you have difficulty designing a risk analysis for your company? Would you be interested in learning easy techniques to effectively design and develop a risk analysis?
Stimuli/Prompts – Your audience attention span will waiver every 20 minutes. Because of this you need to change the stimulus variations frequently. Moving or changing the stimuli mode of delivery will keep the learners focused on the training. Some stimuli variations that can be used are movement changes, pauses, visual aids, and audio aids.
Use Active Learning Methods – Engage your audience by communicating in a way that causes the audience to interact or reflect on the content. An example of communicating in a way to cause the trainee to interact would be, “Tell me why we want to do a risk analysis?”
Experiential Activities – Experiential activities are training activities that require the audience to involve themselves mentally and physically in the activity. Experiential activities help the audience to transfer the training content by application, enhance their motivation, engagement, and build self confidence.
Discussion – Training discussions involve everyone. They allow everyone to learn from other people’s experiences, and they are safe for all learning styles.
Closure – Always provide closure at the conclusion of each element of the lesson and before you transition to the next step. First, summarize what you have discussed and point out key points you want them to remember.
Assessing Training – The last part of designing training programs is to do training assessments. This is a systematic process of evaluating your training to make sure that the training is meeting the needs of the audience and the organization. Assessments ensure quality and help you measure return on investment.
- Exams assess whether or not the audience learned the content.
- Pre and post assessments measure learning before and after.
- You can also measure affective learning using semantic differential scales.
- The behaviors recommended in this training were (good, bad, worthless, unfair, negative, good, valuable, fair, positive) using a 1-7 scale.
- The content or subject matter of this training program were (same as above).
- The trainer was (use the scale as outline above).
- In real-life situations and on the job, your likelihood of actually using the behaviors developed in this training program is (use the same scale as above).
- Your likelihood of wanting to take another training program related to this topic is (use the same scale as above).
- You will also want to complement your training assessment by using a more traditional form of assessment.
- Training content (objectives clear, content interesting, relevant to my job).
- Training resources and methods (organized, learning activities appropriate, adequate balance of lecture, activities and discussions).
- Trainers presentational skills (clear, articulate, organized, energetic, answered questions satisfactorily, integrated life experiences).
- Overall assessment (I recommend this program to others. I recommend this trainer to others).
These are basic content development steps that can help you build effective business continuity training for your company. There are many references or training sites that can help you gather the necessary tools to enable you to build good training programs for business continuity.
Candy Wehenkel, CBCP, is the director of disaster recovery for Anderson Merchandisers and has been involved with business continuity for six years. You can reach her by e-mail at email@example.com.
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